IWU professor: Checker Cab sign racist

Checker Cab sign
(WJBC file photo)

By Adam Studzinski

BLOOMINGTON – An Illinois Wesleyan University professor believed the sign outside Checker Cab in Bloomington is not a joke or a political statement.

Adriana Ponce is from Venezuela, married a Palestinian, and spent five years teaching Palestinian youth in the West Bank. She said the reference to trusting a Palestinian on a motorcycle more than the president is racist.

“This would have been a political statement had he not resorted to the Palestinian on a motorcycle,” said Ponce. “That makes it a racist statement, in my view.”

The owner of Checker Cab, Aaron Halliday, told WJBC Tuesday morning the sign was meant as a joke. Ponce said the statement is a “gross generalization.”

“So, all Palestinians are the same, basically, is the implication there,” said Ponce. “The minute you go there you realize that the guy is simply resorting to stereotypes and generalizations, and of course, with a very negative element there.”

Ponce added she doesn’t even understand the reference.

“If you go to the West Bank you rarely ever see a motorcycle, even in Jerusalem. So that’s partly part of his ignorance there,” Ponce said.

Podcast: Listen to Ponce’s conversation on WJBC.

Halliday said he does not plan to take the sign down until Wednesday.

Adam Studzinski can be reached at adam.studzinski@cumulus.com.

Blogs

Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…